Archive for November 15th, 2016

Don’t forget 1MDB just yet

By Zan Azlee
Asian Correspondent
14th November 2016

A LOT of things happening in Malaysia are grabbing headlines in the news media, from the martial arts obsessed racist red shirts who break concrete blocks on their heads while demonstrating silat skills and protesting against clean and fair elections, to Prime Minister Najib Razak singing karaoke with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

This is all fine and good. I mean, these are current events and definitely newsworthy to be in the media. What I am trying to say is that, although we can and do consume news that is absurd and amusing to our hearts, we should also not forget the news that is more important and has a more adverse affect on society.

Recently, news just broke about how the Malaysian government has refused to provide information and to collaborate with Switzerland’s authorities who are currently investigating corruption allegations within their banking system that is related to the 1MDB scandal, 1MDB being the controversy hit national sovereign wealth fund.

According to news reports, Malaysia is refusing to provide details to the Swiss authorities because apparently, the attorney-general’s office claims that there is an on-going police investigation by Malaysian police on the 1MDB. And this isn’t the first time they have refused to assist. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Running Out of Trump Cards

By Andy Mukherjee
Nov 13, 2016

Amid a deepening emerging-market rout, three of Donald Trump’s seven promises to American workers are making Asia particularly nervous.A U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership would kill the 12-nation deal, while labeling China as a currency manipulator is set to provoke a tit-for-tat response. If the president-elect delivers on those two threats, the export-led region will wait for Trump to make good on his vow to end “all foreign trading abuses.”Although no Asian nation would relish the prospect of an all-out trade war, Malaysian investors are perhaps most at risk.

Why Malaysia? China, Japan, South Korea, India and Singapore are among America’s 15 biggest trading partners; Malaysia is not. And while it’s a TPP member, the accord’s demise is the least of Kuala Lumpur’s worries. It might even be a short-term boon. After all, the Southeast Asian country is an energy and palm-oil exporter. It’s not terribly competitive at much else.

Opening up Malaysia’s consumer economy of 30 million people as part of the free-trade bargain could turn a fast-vanishing current-account surplus into a permanent deficit. That would weigh on the ringgit, scare away investors in Malaysian bonds, and lead to a spike in companies’ cost of capital.

But TPP being dead doesn’t help either. For one, dollars are in short supply in the banking system, and therefore a flight to safety among investors jittery about a Trump presidency makes Malaysia a particularly vulnerable emerging market. Read the rest of this entry »

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1MDB: Malaysia’s extraordinary financial scandal

Daily Mail
15 November 2016

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been under fire since 2014 over allegations that billions of dollars were looted from state investment fund 1MDB in an audacious campaign of fraud and money-laundering.

On Saturday, an influential pro-reform group is planning a rally in downtown Kuala Lumpur to demand Najib’s ouster over the affair.

Here are some answers to key questions in the saga. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s 1MDB in university hard sell

The Australian
November 15, 2016

An investigation by US authorities into the alleged theft of billions of dollars from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund 1MDB was in part fuelled by Attorney-General Loretta Lynch’s desire to divert attention from Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, according to materials distributed in private lectures given by the company’s chief executive Arul Kanda in Australia last week.

The glossy 20-page booklet claims the US Department of Justice investigation, which has so far resulted in the freezing of more than $US1 billion ($1.34bn) in ­assets allegedly removed from 1MDB, is “questionable, strange and bizarre” and threatens the stability of Malaysia.

When it was set up in 2009, 1MDB was touted as a development bank that would invest billions of dollars into energy, real estate and hospitality, but the DoJ alleges the pillaging of the fund began within months of its creation.

Under increasing pressure from the series of international investigations, 1MDB and the ­Malaysian Special Affairs Department, JASA, have been secretly shoring up support among backers of the country’s ruling party in a series of closed-door lectures at Australian universities. Read the rest of this entry »

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MalaysiaKini commended for its frame-by-frame footage of the Jamal red-nose incident during the Red Shirts’ anti-Bersih outing at Ampang Point to highlight the provocation of kleptocrats and their ilk to sabotage Bersih 5

Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, gender, age, region or politics, have a rendezvous with history at the Bersih 5 rally outside Dataran Merdeka on Saturday, November 19, to send a clear, united and unmistakable message to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Malaysians and the watching world of their resolve to reclaim Malaysia as a land of democracy and not to become a land of kleptocracy.

The conviction and jail sentence of one of the most outspoken leaders in Malaysia against corruption and abuses of power, Rafizi Ramli, MP for Pandan and Secretary-General of PKR, on two charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 for trying to unravel the multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocracy scandal, and his disqualification to stand for election as an MP in the forthcoming 14th General Election, has highlighted the special pertinence and importance of Bersih 5 rally this Saturday.

Today, November 14, 2016 is a black day for democracy in Malaysia. It is however a great day for kleptocracy in Malaysia.

Let November 19, 2016 be a great day for democracy and a black day for kleptocracy in Malaysia.

Malaysians regardless of race, religion, gender, age, region or politics must reclaim the country as a democracy and not a kleptocracy – and let this begin on Bersih 5 on Saturday, culminating in the 14th General Election expected next year. Read the rest of this entry »